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Results and lessons learned

Many lessons have been identified from WANI’s work carried out in the Tacaná Watersheds. The main lessons are:

  1. Developing local governance and organizational structures benefit and complement IWRM actions. Integrating local communities and their social structures into Microwatershed councils led to greater cohesion and unity. These councils give members control over their resources and as more are formed, the influence spreads across the basin. Successful local models can be scaled up to national level and lead to the formation of national institutions or processes, which can then extend the model to other watersheds.
  2. Strengthening community-based alliances and integrating them with municipal and national development institutions increases coordination between administrative levels. This promotes integrated and coordinated water resource planning across the watershed and shared experiences with other community groups and networks.
  3. Community-level participation in transboundary water resource management is achievable and adds value to conventional transboundary approaches. Facilitation of community-based management actions has demonstrated that planning and implementation of IWRM can be successfully shared between communities across boundaries.
  4. Poverty reduction and increased livelihood opportunities are major concerns at both local and national levels. The challenge is to combine livelihood benefits whilst maintaining environmental sustainability. A range of options combining income generation and environmental conservation initiatives that fully integrates the community can be achieved. Both technical and business training is required, in order for pilot projects to be viable and sustainable.
  5. Developing disaster risk management planning should be integral to the overall watershed management planning and not just as an emergency response (as demonstrated by Tropical Storm Stan). This ensures that measures to combat risks such as climate change are part of integrated water resource planning for the microwatershed. (IUCN 2012)